FALSE: Mark Milley urged Ukrainians to conduct terrorist attacks on Russian territory

FALSE: Mark Milley urged Ukrainians to conduct terrorist attacks on Russian territory

9 April 2024
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Verification within Meta’s Third-Party Fact-Checking Program

On various social networks, including Threads, information is being spread that on December 4, 2023, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the USA, Mark Milley, encouraged Ukraine to commit acts of terror against Russian citizens. The Washington Post publishes his words.

This is false. According to The Washington Post, Mark Milley did not urge Ukraine to conduct terrorist attacks on Russian territory. He advised Ukrainian fighters to actively engage against Russian soldiers behind the lines in occupied territories. Additionally, the USA does not encourage Ukrainian forces to strike outside their own borders.

Screenshot of the post 

On December 4, 2023, The Washington Post published an article titled “Miscalculations, divisions marked offensive planning by U.S., Ukraine,” which indeed includes a similar statement by Mark Milley. The article describes events from early 2023, just before the Ukrainian summer counteroffensive. At that time, Milley was serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the USA, a position he left at the end of September 2023.

According to The Washington Post, Mark Milley made these remarks during a conversation with Ukrainian Special Operations Forces soldiers in Wiesbaden, Germany. The media indicates that he aimed to inspire them in this manner. At the same time, Milley made these comments in the context of behind-the-lines operations in enemy-controlled territory: “During one visit to Wiesbaden, Milley spoke with Ukrainian special operations troops — who were working with American Green Berets — in the hope of inspiring them ahead of operations in enemy-controlled areas.”

In the article, Milley’s words are conveyed as follows:

”There should be no Russian who goes to sleep without wondering if they’re going to get their throat slit in the middle of the night,” Milley said, according to an official with knowledge of the event. “You gotta get back there, and create a campaign behind the lines”.

The article overall did not discuss civilians, as it was exclusively dedicated to the military situation in the Russia-Ukraine war. Therefore, when Milley referred to “Russians”, he meant Russian military personnel, not civilians. Additionally, later on, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller indicated that the U.S. position remains unchanged: they do not encourage Ukrainian forces to strike outside their own borders.

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